Skip to content

Rebellion – Part II

by on September 7, 2018

Rebellion – Part II

The word, rebellion in the Old Testament almost always refers to resistance to and rejection of Jehovah God. This is a serious affront to God and will not be tolerated.

Some ‘rebellion’ however, while not using the word rebel, contains the concept of not honoring authority that is not wise. When Saul commanded his men to kill innocents, the soldiers refused. Is that rebellion? It is certainly the concept of rebellion even if the word is not used. It is refusal to accept and honor unwise authority by obedience to that authority. It could be called, principled disobedience.

Some illustrations
In Saul’s anger, he called his wife a rebellious woman. Was she a rebel? If she did not approve of the way Saul was raising their son, Saul apparently thought of her as a rebel. Was she, in fact, a rebel? Was it acceptable for her to influence their son in a way different from the way her husband was influencing him?

When Saul planned to kill David and Jonathan intervened, was that rebellion? Rebellion is rejection of and resistance to authority. Saul was angry at Jonathan. Jonathan was angry at his father’s sin.

David, when confronting Goliath, rebelled against those who were rebelling against Jehovah. “Who would have the audacity to defy the God of Israel? David had to side-step his elder brother’s advice and continue to seek to find a way to fight the enemy of his people (I Samuel 17).

Hebrew to Greek
When the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek, the word, rebel was replaced by a word that could mean to provoke, etc. According to W. E. Vine, “The primary meaning of marah is to disobey” “The intent of the Hebrew is to signify the act of defying the command of God…”

“The Septuagint translates marah by (a word that means) to make bitter; make angry; provoke; be rebellious; …to reject; to not recognize. The English versions give the meanings: ‘rebel; provoke.’” Provoke in the English Bible can be used as a positive or a negative.

(Personal note: I am beyond my training on this subject. My sense from a brief study is that the concept of rebellion can be used as a negative or a positive.)

In the Scripture
God has intervened in human history in dramatic ways. Numbers 25 is a graphic account of how a plague was stopped. It was a violent end to an immoral plague. Jesus’ dramatic interruption of religion in His day, and the apostle Paul teaching the truth in the face of “super apostles” are Biblical examples of rebellion against passivity and sin and false teaching and hypocrisy.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. No wonder we cannot defeat the devil, we are too weak to resist and why would he flee?

In the Worship of Jehovah and in Christianity, passivity is not a virtue. II Corinthians 7:11 contains dramatic language. There are two kinds of sorrow: worldly and Godly. Godly sorrow has eagerness and vehement desire:
• Such Earnestness to do right
• Such Eagerness for a clean heart, to put away evil from you
• Such indignation against those who defile the Church
• Such vehement desire to correct what is wrong

In contrast, current Christendom in the Western world is a shamefully passive system of negligence and irresponsibility. That is not Christianity. Christianity rebels against evil and sin in the individual and in the abuse of children. We are rebelling against Satan’s kingdom.

We are here to make a difference. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ. We are rebelling against pornography. We are rebelling against wicked leaders in high places. We are rebelling against broken relationships fueled by Satanic attitudes and we rebel against pride which is the sin of the devil.

Until we are willing to cleanse the temple and call out the Pharisees, nothing will change. Like our Master, we must rebel against the status quo and teach like one who has authority and not like one of the scribes and we must live that way also.

Romans 6 says that we are slaves:
If you are a slave to righteous, you are delivered and free from sin.
If you are a slave to sin, you are delivered and free from righteousness.
That is not complicated. That is God’s answer.

Anabaptist History
In our own history, at our beginnings, when Zwingli reverted to duly constituted authority, his students (us) responded, ‘The Spirit of God has decided.’ We refused to obey the state preferring instead the Scripture and the Holy Spirit of God.

One of our understandings of Jesus’ teaching was defenselessness. In keeping with that understanding we refused to: serve in the military, serve as a magistrate, and serve on jury duty. We did not follow the expectations of the age. We were defenseless in our defense. We died instead of fight.

We charted a ‘new’ course following the Bible and the earliest Church experiences. That is still the call on our lives today. We support that position by not accepting the rule of the world’s kingdom.

Too many of us capitulated to the persecution of German Jews in the 1940’s. Why did we do that? Why did not more of us support rebellion against Hitler’s machine by saving lives he was trying to exterminate?

Will destroy us. Principled disobedience is sanctioned by God through the Scripture. Respect in the process is expected but passivity must be rejected. We must rebel against passivity. Faith in the Old Testament and Christianity in the New Testament were/are not passive. They are active, aggressive and intentional faith living.

We should be angry and not sin. We should be angry at the inroads Satan is allowed to make into our lives and churches. Only anger and rebellion will give us enough drive to overcome the sins that so easily be set us.

The church is in a peace-at-all-costs, no accountability mode. It is not working. It will not work. It places the few who will not cooperate in a very difficult place. It has always been that way. It allows sin to prosper and gives wrong a place to hide. It uses grace and mercy to trump truth.

Scripture keeps mercy and truth together to blend the heart and mind of God and our own lives. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth whose first agenda in the gifting is love which brings joy and peace….

That Spirit is a river of life springing out of you…. That river is not containable. That river will overcome all obstacles. That River is where the tree of life grows. With fruit for food and leaves for medicine, it is the tree of life that towers over all the rebellion against the Creator and His creation.

Our lives are examples and illustrations of resistance and rejection of Satan’s kingdom and the offer and building of the eternal Kingdom. Whatever you call it, our lives are illustrations of the Kingdom that rebels against everything that rebels against God.

From → Christian Living

Comments are closed.